Lavender – the Plant
I am wild. Far from society, my sojourn is spent in deserts and solitude,
for I don’t like mixing with the crowd!
...Free, I am free!
The Song of Lavender (La Chante de la lavande)
Much can be written
about lavender species there are a multitude of common names and varieties available.
Botanically they can be divided into three sub-generic lavenders. These are:
Stoechas type lavender is an ancient species from the Mediterranean.
Often referred to as Spanish, Italian and/or French lavender, it was used by the
Romans extensively and is distinguished by large compressed spikes. Lavendula
dentata, the French Lavender is characterised by their plump compressed spike
topped by a tuft of large upright lavender coloured bracts. A very hardy plant,
easily grown in South Australia. The fragrance of these lavenders is a refreshing
blend of camphor and lavender with minty undertones, often used in household products.
“True” lavender [“English lavender’] L.
angustifolia is the plant grown for oil at McLaren Vale. There are many,
many cultivars of this plant however they all have the same charming characteristics
– a refreshing, timeless fragrance highly prized in the perfume industry
and as the most versatile essential oil in aromatherapy. Horticuturally it grows
in full sun, hardy, and is wonderful planted on its own, in borders or hedges
and comes in a variety of colours ranging from white, pink, purple and all shades
Pterostachy lavender look quite different to the others however
they carry the same characteristics and are a very beautiful plant. The leaves
are green and have a fern-like appearance with the flowers borne in thin winged
spikes of rich blue and purple. The bush is erect in habit and flowers for 6 months
of the year in South Australia. The fragrance is not that associated with 'true'
lavender and has more of an aromatic scent.
lavenders like the same growing conditions – a sunny open site, a handful
of lime once per year and a good pruning at the end of each flowering season.
Lavenders are fairly drought tolerant once established, however, a good watering
once per week in the first summer will ensure the establishment of a happy, healthy
Enjoy the beauty and benefits of this wonderful plant.